Bruxism, more commonly known as nighttime teeth grinding, is a condition in which the individual unconsciously clenches their jaw and grinds their teeth. This condition can occur at any time but is particularly troubling when it happens during sleep because you are not aware of it and cannot prevent it.
There is no exact cause of why bruxism occurs; however, experts believe that the condition may be caused by contributing factors like heightened stress, genetics, or other health conditions. Certain antidepressants may also cause teeth grinding and bruxism may also be a side effect of neurodegenerative disorders like Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
Symptoms of Bruxism
Bruxism is characterized by several symptoms. People who suffer from bruxism or nighttime teeth grinding often complain of waking up with an aching jaw or damaged teeth.
Jon C. Packman DDS, Dr. Packman and strongly encourage you to inform them if you notice symptoms of bruxism so that they can pay special care to your teeth.
Some signs and side effects of bruxism includes:
|Jaw and facial pain and stiffness
|Restricted jaw movement
|Worn or cracked tooth enamel
|Bitten tongue and insides of the cheeks
|Broken fillings, bridges, or crowns
|Teeth misalignment in severe cases
Can Bruxism Contribute to TMJ Disorder?
Temporomandibular joint disorders, or TMJ disorders, is an umbrella term for a range of issues affecting the joints located behind the jaw just in front of your ears. This jaw joint is responsible for moving your jaw upward and downward and sideways. Any issues with this joint can result in pain and restriction of movement which may be known as a TMJ disorder.
Some common TMJ disorders include lockjaw, clicking, popping, and a grating noise when moving the jaw, pain in the jaw, neck, and ears, and headache.
People who have bruxism do not necessarily have symptoms of TMJ disorders. However, clenching your jaw may contribute towards or worsen TMJ conditions.
Moderate to severe bruxism can have a serious adverse impact on an existing TMJ disorder as it directly affects the jaw and its joints. Clenching your jaw can create a pressure of 250 pounds on the surface of a tooth whereas normal chewing produces a pressure of only up to 40 pounds. Excessive force can fracture your teeth as well as damage the jaw joint.
Treatment for Bruxism
A lot of times bruxism may go away on its own, particularly when triggers like heightened stress are removed. Many people only require mild treatments to get rid of this condition. However, if the condition is chronic, we may recommend the use of custom-made nighttime mouth guards to protect your teeth and reduce the pressure on your jaw.
If your teeth grinding is caused by broken or misaligned teeth, we can treat it by repairing and straightening your teeth with the help of dental crowns, aligners, braces, and other dental treatments.
If you grind your teeth unconsciously when under stress, we can recommend several therapies that can help you relax like meditation, exercise, and physical therapy. Muscle relaxants can also loosen the muscle in your jaw and prevent you from grinding your teeth.
Alcohol, coffee, tobacco, and drugs can also exacerbate the symptoms of bruxism so we advise you to avoid or reduce their usage.
When it comes to bruxism, timely intervention can prevent long-lasting damage to your teeth and jaw. If you or your partner suffer from bruxism, schedule an appointment with us today by calling at (704) 978-7060 so we can recommend the right treatment options for you.